Dodge 4x4 FAQ

I get a lot of emails from people that come to the site and want some info
on their Dodge trucks.  So I sat down and wrote answers to a lot of the
questions I get asked.  I didn't do this to discourage emails, because I
enjoy hearing from other Dodge 4x4 guys, but I hope this helps some
folks out there who otherwise might not be able to get the info they need.
Please note that none of this is "set in stone" but rather general guidelines.
 There are always exceptions.  So don't hold me responsible if you try to
fit a certain size tire on a certain size lift and it doesn't fit!  There are too
many variables to predict every possible lift and tire combination.

What size tires can I run on X inches of lift?

For 94-01 Ram tons, you can run 33x12.50s stock if you use wheels with 4.5 inches of backspacing. With two and three inches
of lift, you can move up to 35s on the same wheels.

33" stock 4x4
35" 2 or 3 inches of lift
36" 5 inches of lift
37" 7 or 8 inches of lift
38x12.50 8 inches of lift
38x15.50 10 inches of lift
39" 10-12 inches of lift
40" 12-13 inches of lift

42"

15 inches of lift

44"

18 inches of lift

These figures are all approximate. It should be noted that regular cabs can run a larger tire than extended/quad cabs because of the decrease in weight. Regular cabs tend to net more lift from a kit than an extended cab will. ton and 1 ton trucks usually sit 2 or 3 inches higher and therefore would require that much less lift to clear a specific size of tire. Also note that by extending the control arms, you can run a little larger tire or just have more room for the same size tire you were going to run. Our suspensions are designed so that the tires are closer to touching the rear of the front fender wells than they really should be. You can either cut the fender up or get longer arms to remedy this.

How much lift can I put on before I have to replace steering components?

The border is at 3 inches. If you go taller than that, you need to look at replacing the pitman arm and track bar mounting bracket. You can run stock steering on 4 inches of lift for the time being, but as things wear out, upgrade to 5 inch components.

What is the difference in an Offroad Edition Ram and a regular 4x4?

The Offroad Edition was only produced for a couple of years, before Dodge went to the new body style. The only differences between Offroads and regular 4x4s are:

4.10 gears and a rear trac-lock
Heavy duty towing package which includes a transmission cooler
1.5 inch lift, plus larger 32 inch tires, giving 1.75 inches more lift
17x8 aluminum 5 spoke wheels and 275 GSA's (32 inch tires)
Extra skid plates
Trussing on front Dana 44 axle
Larger (not longer) nitrogen shocks
Badge on tailgate

These are the only differences. If you try to order suspension parts, some places will even tell you that their lift does not fit an Offroad Edition. That is not true. It will fit, but you wont gain as much lift as you would on a regular 4x4. A 5 inch lift is the same on either truck because when you do a suspension lift, you cancel out what makes the Offroads taller (stiffer coils and one extra leaf in the leaf pack).

What gears do I need with my X size tires?

CLICK HERE
If graph does not load properly

Tire Size

Gear Ratio

 

2.35

2.73

2.94

3.07

3.21

3.31

3.42

3.55

3.73

3.91

4.11

4.27

4.56

4.88

5.13

5.29

5.38

5.71

6.17

7.17

22

2333

2710

2919

3048

3178

3286

3395

3524

3703

3882

4080

4239

4527

4845

5093

5252

5341

5668

6125

7118

23

2231

2592

2792

2915

3048

3143

3248

3371

3542

3713

3903

4055

4330

4634

4871

5023

5109

5422

5859

6808

24

2139

2484

2675

2794

2921

3012

3112

3231

3394

3558

3740

3886

4150

4441

4668

4814

4896

5196

5615

6525

25

2053

2385

2568

2682

2804

2892

2988

3101

3259

3416

3590

3730

3984

4263

4482

4621

4700

4988

5390

6264

26

1974

2293

2470

2579

2696

2780

2873

2982

3133

3284

3452

3587

3830

4099

4309

4444

4519

4796

5183

6023

27

1901

2208

2378

2483

2597

2677

2766

2872

3017

3163

3325

3454

3689

3947

4150

4279

4352

4619

4991

5800

28

1833

2129

2293

2395

2504

2582

2668

2769

2909

3050

3206

3331

3557

3806

4001

4126

4196

4454

4813

5593

29

1770

2056

2214

2312

2417

2493

2576

2674

2809

2945

3095

3216

3434

3675

3863

3984

4052

4300

4647

5400

30

1711

1987

2140

2235

2337

2410

2490

2584

2715

2846

2992

3109

3320

3553

3735

3851

3917

4157

4492

5220

31

1656

1923

2071

2163

2261

2332

2409

2501

2628

2755

2896

3008

3213

3438

3614

3727

3790

4023

4347

5051

32

1604

1863

2007

2095

2191

2259

2334

2423

2546

2669

2805

2914

3112

3331

3501

3610

3672

3897

4211

4894

33

1555

1807

1946

2032

2124

2191

2263

2349

2469

2588

2720

2826

3018

3230

3395

3501

3561

3779

4083

4745

34

1510

1754

1889

1972

2062

2126

2197

2280

2396

2512

2640

2743

2929

3135

3295

3398

3456

3668

3963

4606

35

1466

1704

1835

1916

2003

2065

2134

2215

2328

2440

2565

2664

2845

3045

3201

3301

3357

3563

3850

4474

36

1426

1656

1784

1862

1947

2008

2075

2154

2263

2372

2493

2590

2766

2961

3112

3209

3264

3464

3743

4350

37

1387

1611

1735

1812

1895

1954

2019

2095

2202

2308

2426

2520

2692

2881

3028

3123

3176

3370

3642

4232

38

1351

1569

1690

1764

1845

1902

1966

2040

2144

2247

2362

2454

2621

2805

2948

3040

3092

3282

3546

4121

39

1316

1529

1646

1719

1798

1854

1915

1988

2089

2190

2302

2391

2554

2733

2873

2962

3013

3198

3455

4015

40

1283

1491

1605

1676

1753

1807

1867

1938

2037

2135

2244

2331

2490

2664

2801

2888

2937

3118

3369

3915

41

1252

1454

1566

1635

1710

1763

1822

1891

1987

2083

2189

2275

2492

2599

2733

2818

2866

3042

3287

3819

42

1222

1420

1529

1596

1669

1721

1778

1846

1940

2033

2137

2220

2371

2538

2668

2751

2798

2969

3208

3728

43

1194

1387

1493

1559

1630

1681

1737

1803

1894

1986

2087

2169

2316

2479

2606

2687

2733

2900

3134

3642

44

1166

1355

1459

1524

1593

1643

1698

1762

1851

1941

2040

2119

2263

2422

2545

2626

2670

2834

3063

3559


This is a matter of personal opinion; however, there are some general guidelines regarding RPMs. Most people prefer the following, based on a V8 gas engine:

33s 4.10 gears
35s 4.56 gears
37s 4.88 gears
38s 4.88 or 5.13
40s 5.13 gears
42s 5.13 or 5.86 gears
44s 5.86 or deeper
You can only go to 4.56 gears on ton Dodges due to the rear 9.25 axle. There is rumored to be a 4.88 gear out or coming soon but it has been in the making for several years now.

A lot of folks say that going lower than 5.13 is not a good idea because the pinion is so small that it can break much easier. This may be true in a rear Dana 60 application, but in the Dana 70 and 80's, the pinion is still very large and strong and we have not had one break to date. So don't be afraid to go lower. If you break something, you can tell me to correct this. :-)

Will a 15 inch wheel fit my truck?

If you own a 94-99 Dodge ton, you can fit 15 inch wheels without modification. However, on the 2000 and 2001 models, you will need to grind the front brake calipers down slightly in order to fit 15 inch wheels. The more offset/less backspacing you have, the better as far as this is concerned.

How hard is a suspension lift to put on?

It depends on the kit. The Skyjacker 5 inch is not a hard kit at all. You can do it in one day if you have a friend helping out. A run down on the kit is that you replace the pitman arm, drop the track bar, add a bracket for the upper control arm that will keep it more level, replace both control arms (be careful with the cam bolts, they get frozen sometimes), install sway bar drop brackets, new coils, shocks, and thats it. For the rear, you either add a leaf or do an entire new spring pack, then shocks. On ton trucks, you can remove the drivers side leaf pack without dropping the gas tank. You just slide the bolt out far enough to drop the front eyelet and you are set. You cannot do this on and 1 ton Dodges since the leaf packs are inch wider.

The Skyjacker 7 inch kit is considerably harder, because you have to drop the transfer case and reindex it in order to keep a good angle on the front driveshaft. The 7 inch kit can take a couple of days to install but the only differences are the reindexing ring, new crossmember, and of course the long arm brackets. Everything else is basically the same.  For more information on the transfer case and crossmember modifications, please visit my transmission swap page:  http://www.djgaston.com/offroad/aps.htm

The Dick Cepek 6 inch kit is the most involved, although its not hard. This is a long arm kit and you will need to do some cutting. It is regarded as the most complete, best made kit, but since you cut some brackets off, it is hard to go back to stock once you have installed this kit.

How hard is a body lift to put on?

A body lift is very easy on our trucks. The hardest part is getting the bumpers lined up and then the shifter linkage. You need to pull the shifter linkage (transmission shifter) and cut it in half, then weld in an extension. You will not be able to drive until this is done. The rest of the kit is a simple bolt on installation that should only take half a day ideally, or a full day at the most. Some body mount bolts can get seized up and cause you problems, but that is about the only thing that goes wrong consistently on body lift installs.

What is the best way to put together a suspension lift?

Most people will agree that you can piece together a superior suspension lift, rather than buy one, and save money doing so. If you buy the Dick Cepek long arm kit ($450) and then buy some Skyjacker 7 inch coils and the Extreme drop pitman arm, then a ThurenFab or DT Pro Fab track bar with the 6 inch drop bracket, you will have a superior front suspension for much less money than you would normally spend. You can either ditch the sway bar, get some sway bar drop brackets, or get some RockKrawler quick disconnects (adjustable). For the rear, Deaver spring packs are the best, but you can buy Skyjacker leaf spring packs as well (6 inch pack). You can run up to 10 inches of suspension lift on the Cepek arms with barely any signs of the axle being pulled backwards.

Where do I buy the Dick Cepek long arm kit?

You can get the front box kit which includes the frame brackets, four long arms, hardware and a nice set of stickers directly from Dodge Off Road's online store.
http://www.dodgeoffroad.com/store

What axles do I want for my axle swap?

What do we all want? A Ford high pinion Kingpin Dana 60 front from a 77, 78, or 79 Ford F250 or F350. They are the ultimate front axle for those of us with driver side pumpkins. However, they require a bit of work to make them go under the truck since they are setup for leaf springs and such.
The most desirable front axle is the Dana 60 from a 94 to 02 Ram 3/4 ton. The 96 and 97 year models are the only ones that can be upgraded to manual locking hubs, which gets rid of the weak unitized hub bearing assembly. The 00 and 01's have 32 spline axle shafts though and dual piston calipers, whereas all others from 94 to 99 have 30 spline axles and single piston calipers. For the rear, you want a Dana 70. And if your truck is a 98 or newer (99, 00, 01), you will want to get one from a 98 or newer 3/4 ton truck because you have to have a tone ring in your rear axle for your speedometer to work. If your truck is older than a 98, you can put practically any axle in the rear. In that case, a Dana 70 or GM/Corporate 14 Bolt is a great choice. Both are very strong. The 14 bolt is probably cheaper to build.

What about a Dana 60 rear? Well, you can get a rear Dana 60 from some 94-97 ton Rams, but the only thing you gain from doing that is a better gear selection, a full floating axle, and 8 lugs. The 9.25 actually is rated stronger than the Dana 60 rear for weight and torque handling but it does use C clips to hold the axles in place and that is a weak point. So just try to find a Dana 70. They are physically bigger and much stronger. You do not want a Dana 80 rear axle because they are overkill and tend to get hung up on rocks or other obstructions very easily. If you get a Dana 80, plan on running some huge tires to keep the differential off the ground! Take what you can get, but the 60/70 combo is the best!

What is the largest tire size I should run on my ton axles?

You can pretty reliably run 35 inch tires on ton axles. The rear axle is very strong, however the weak Dana 44 hybrid front axle is not. Its weak point is the unitized hub assembly. If you run tires larger than 35s, or if you wheel with 35s, you might be replacing hub assemblies frequently (once a year or more). There are lifetime warrantied ones you can get, and since the assemblies are expensive, this is the only way to go. You can usually run a 37 inch tire on ton axles without much worry but you will need to learn your limits. What kills these axles is when you start spinning the tires and then they hook up finally, you can snap the small front axle shaft very easily. If you plan to run large tires at some point, try to buy a ton instead, or just start saving up for new axles. Having a big truck with big tires is no fun if you cant use it because you are afraid your axles will break in half.



Copyright 2001-2010: Danny Gaston, Dodge Off Road, LLC
Last updated: June 03, 2010